Sunday, October 30, 2011

Everything She Knows, I Taught Her

I asked Jeremy to write a guest post on how he feels about becoming a dad. I realize now how hard it must be to sit down and consolidate all your excitement and fear into one blog post, but in Jeremy's eloquent fashion, he did. So enjoy! (The title of the post is from a song by Loudon Wainwright called "Daughter".)

Jeremy's Thoughts on Becoming a Dad

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to become a dad.  These thoughts range from overwhelming joy and pride to a slightly-less-than-panicky anxiety.  And this may seem strange, but I think it's mostly about finally growing up.  Not that I have some weird Peter Pan complex, but becoming an adult - like a real-life, bona fide adult - has been on my list of things to avoid for a long time now.  In my mind I'm still in my early 20's.

Quinn, scheduled to arrive in just eight short days, is changing all of that.  Along with all the normal cuteness, sweetness, sugar, spice, and everything else nice, she's marshaling in a new era of responsibility.  Whether it's my morning routine of loud music and coffee on the way to work or my less-than-enviable eating habits, she is forcing me to re-examine how I do things.  And I'm all the happier for it.

What she doesn't know (and won't realize for a while), is that her birth is the best thing to happen to Molly Ann and me (at this point, being married goes without saying).  Quinn signifies not only an expression of our commitment to each other as a couple, but also our desire to put the best of ourselves into this brand new person.  I'm sure that most parents would agree that children give us a hopeful outlook on the future.

My hope for Quinn is that we can set her up to do better than we have, but with a profound respect for where she's come from and an eye toward what she can be.

Hers should be a world in which a loving, healthy, and unbroken family is the norm.  I don't fault our parents for making decisions as they did, but there's no doubt that growing up in a broken home was a setback.  Quinn will begin her life with a promise that being together is top priority.  When she's old enough to understand the concept of family, I want her to realize that she has a great baseline from which she can start.  And I promise to show her every day how a man is supposed to love and treat a woman.

Hers should be a world in which financial limitations are the exception and not the rule.  Again, I can't blame our parents for the way things were, but I'd be lying if I said they were always easy.  I have clear memories of doing what we could to get the bills paid each month, Christmas layaway, and parents working multiple jobs.  And I'm not promising that we'll always have what it takes to give her everything she wants, but just as I have learned in my adult years to understand and respect the importance of financial responsibility, I vow to teach Quinn how to live well without digging herself into a financial hole.

Hers should (and will) be a world in which dogs are friends.  This may not be at the top of the list for most expectant parents, but a family dog can be such a powerful addition to your life.  I can't tell you how fun it has been to have Lexi there with me for almost 13 years now.  She has been my friend, my confidant, and my therapist through some bad times, some good times, and some great times.  Ella, despite her apparent need for mischief and attention, has only added to that.  I hope that Quinn will learn early on how important these companions can be, and that she will learn to care for and nurture a creature that depends entirely upon her for its well-being.

So as I take this further step into adulthood, I'm thrilled that I get to work through these things with a sweet, beautiful daughter.  As I mark the end of my younger days, I also happily celebrate the arrival of hers.  Sleeplessness, crying fits, dirty diapers... none of this frightens me.  For me, it's all part of the larger parenthood package, and I promise to do whatever it takes to make this little girl happy.

In writing this post, I've been trying to think of a way to summarize how I feel as we get closer to November 8.  Here's what I've come up with:

One day Baby Q will become Girl Q who will be become Young Lady Q, and she's going to want to know what was going through our heads and hearts during this time.  For you, Quinn, let me say this... I'm already in love and can't wait to meet you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pregnancy from the View of My Phone

We recently upgraded our phones and I almost lost all my pictures. Luckily, Jeremy recovered them so I could do this post I have been wanting to do for a while. I am really bad about keeping photos on my phone forever and it has been funny to look through them lately to see what I have from the pregnancy. So, here goes...

My Mom and I went shopping for maternity clothes when I was around 12 weeks. The little strap-on belly they give you at the maternity store was fun to try on and I remember saying "I can't imagine being this big!" Well, I am much bigger now!!

The "maternity section" of my closet after we went shopping. It's grown a little bit since then, but not a lot. I honestly didn't buy too many maternity things and wore a lot of tank tops since it was SO hot throughout my pregnancy!

This is one of the best pics we got of Quinn during all the sonograms. This is at 12 weeks.

Little Quinn at 12 weeks snuggling up in a corner of my uterus.

18 Weeks. This is when I really started to see a "bump."

Jeremy getting a pedicure on Father's Day...yes, I got one too!

Ella cuddling up next to her sister on the couch. Love the bump in this pic!

This was a sign in a tapioca bar in NYC (kind of like an ice cream place, but w/ tapioca instead) that made me laugh. Check it out! The place was called Rice to Riches...check it out.

Jeremy bought this very appropriate shirt for us.

My birthday dinner at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. I am pretty sure I ordered dessert and also ate my birthday dessert. Oops.

Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen making peach cobbler.

This requires some explaining. We went to our rental house right before our new tenants moved in. Because of the drought this summer and the water restrictions, the grass was fried. I decided that hand watering would be helpful (obviously it was beyond help) but it was so hot that I sat in the car with the AC and hung the hose out of the car window.

A week that shows the ridiculous heat this summer!!

My first impulse buy for a craving.

Jeremy is the best. He sent me cookies from Tiff's Treats w/ the note above.

Putting together the pack and play. Fun times.

Ok, this is kind of gross, but I had to put it in here for posterity. The long blue thing in the trash is the stent they put in me when I had the kidney stone. I was SO glad when they took it out. It was about a foot wonder I was so uncomfortable! I had to open the trash and take a pic just to show everyone I wasn't crazy! :)

I saw this recipe and had to make it as a sweet craving for breakfast! Cinnamon roll pumpkin pancakes! YUM!

Quinn at our 36 week sonogram. I had to make little arrows to point out her chubby cheek, eye socket and hand/arm.

Jeremy's daddy blog is still coming soon so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

36 Weeks as a Pregnant Lady

I think it's weird that they say a woman is pregnant for nine months. I mean, 36 weeks is nine months, right? But, technically I have four more weeks to go. So why don't we just say 10 months and not get everyone's hopes up!
Can you tell I am getting a little tired of being pregnant? Honestly, I can't complain too much. I have had a good pregnancy in that Quinn has been super healthy and there haven't been any weird complications. My health has been a little crazy, but as long as Baby Q is okay, I can deal.
I am getting very, VERY excited to meet Quinn. I think the bigger she has gotten, the more I can feel her and the closer I feel to her. I can't wait to hold her and see what she looks like and love her to pieces!
36 Week Update
-Quinn feels like a "for real" baby moving around in my belly. I don't think of her as a fetus anymore...she's legitimately a baby that probably weighs about 5.5 or 6lbs. Sometimes in bed, I hold my tummy like I am holding her. She still kicks and moves a lot and it's fun now to play "Guess that Body Part" when something random sticks out and makes my belly all caddywompus. I am so glad she's active...I think I would be paranoid if I didn't feel her move a lot.
-Shout out to Jeremy again. He cleans my messes (I am getting really clumsy; see below), does all our chores, takes care of the dogs, took care of me when I was sick (again, see below), always asks if I need anything, buys me flowers, indulges in junk food with me and goes to the grocery store. He's funny about the grocery store. He hates going when there are a jillion people, so his newest thing is to go at like 6:30am on Sundays. He's a morning person, so he's up and I guess he figures, why not.
-Shopping for a baby girl is WAY fun! I might be getting a little out of control, but I love all the cute, girly stuff!! I waited until after we had all our showers to shop and now I can't stop. Jeremy gave in the other day and got Quinn something too. Here are a few of our purchases:
 "Q" in sign language
 Jeremy's purchase.

Headbands from Etsy. Freakin' Etsy...I can't stay away!

 -Knock on wood I have not gotten: swollen feet and ankles or stretch marks too badly. Again, let's  knock on wood because I have four weeks to go. My belly button hasn't popped out yet either. I think if (when) it does, it will be weird!
-For a while my favorite dessert was the Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell/Mint Oreo combo. Well, I have a new one and it is the most amazing creation by Blue Bell yet: Butter Crunch Ice Cream! Jeremy has decided it has crack in it because it's just SO GOOD and you can't stop eating it. It sort of tastes like a Butterfinger Blizzard, but better because it's made with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. Go get some and thank me later!

-I think Autumn might finally be coming to Austin. There have been some morning lows in the 50s and 60s and it's starting to stay in the 80s and 90s during the day. I actually busted out a 3/4 length shirt to wear the other day.
-We are starting to check things off the list. We have taken a birthing class, infant care class and a CPR class. We also have Quinn's room pretty much ready to go, my hospital bag packed and some laundry done so Quinn has clean stuff to wear when she gets here.

-Jeremy has started making Quinn a music playlist. It's really sweet. It has songs like Loudon Wainwright III's  "Daughter" the Beatles "Blackbird", Nickel Creek's "When You Come Back Down" and  Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." It's a pretty long play list, and I can't wait to hear him sing to Quinn. He has also started downloading children's songs. Not the cheesy Barney-type albums, but children's songs sung by normal people like Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb. We listened to a little "Frog Went A Courtin'" this morning before we left for church.

-I have not had to buy maternity clothes for any other seasons. It is still warm enough that I can wear flip-flops, capris and skirts! Some of my tops have gotten pretty snug, but I have started to raid Jeremy's t-shirt drawer and that works for me!

-Baby Quinn hiccups! It's so cute how she gets all mad and starts squirming when she has them.
Not So Amazing

-A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I both got a stomach bug. Jeremy never threw up and his wasn't too bad, but I was a mess. I woke up feeling achy and thinking "man these pregnancy aches came on fast." Well, it got worse and worse and I ended up going home from work at lunch. I walked in our door and went straight to the restroom to hurl. (sorry...TMI) Throwing up while you are preggo has to be one of the worst things ever. I was so worried about staying hydrated that I would drink between each time I threw up and then just throw up what I drank. I finally called the doctor and he said to stop drinking anything because it was just upsetting my tummy. He said not to worry about dehydration yet, and just try to settle my tummy. That actually worked and I didn't throw up after that, but I was definitely out the next day feeling awful. Thank goodness it was a 24-hr. bug and I was feeling a little better after a few days. UGH. I am glad that is over.

-My hands are swelling like crazy and they hurt. It's so bizarre that they are swollen but my feet aren't (yet). It feels like I can't work my hands like a normal person and I keep breaking things, dropping things and making messes. Jeremy has taken away my right to use glasses...I have to use plastic cups. I have heard this happens toward the end of pregnancy and it feels like carpal tunnel. I guess working at a computer all day doesn't help. 

-Quinn has created her own little schedule of moving around. Even though I love feeling her move, she has decided the middle of the night is the best time. It keeps me up sometimes, and then my brain starts going thinking about her arrival, things I need to take care of at work before I leave, cleaning our house, etc. I guess this is God's way of preparing me for lack of sleep. :)

-I am large. Very large. I don't want to talk about how much weight I have gained, but I did notice the other day that I weigh more than some college quarterbacks. Oh dear. 

-Aches have arrived: hands, feet, hips, back, neck, shoulders and round ligaments (around my stretching belly). 

-HEARTBURN! Man oh man. I think I have said it before, but Quinn must have a lot of hair if the old wives tale is true. I can't eat a lot at a time because I can't digest things very fast and if I eat anything remotely spicy I pay for it later. I have been taking two Zantac a day (which the doc said is fine) and that has helped. I have also learned the most boring foods I can eat and I try not to eat too close to bed time. 

-Walking in the mornings has gotten harder. I get home from walking (which is about 2 miles now), eat breakfast and get dressed for work and I am ready to go back to bed. It wears me out! I have still been doing yoga on Monday evenings and that has been really good.

-Each day around 3:30pm I want to crawl under my desk and go to sleep. I zone out and I can't think straight. Hopefully I am still doing good work, but I have said some dumb stuff in e-mails where I have to retract and remind people that Quinn is sucking away all of my brain juice right now.

-The other day Jeremy sort of jokingly said "I am tired of you being pregnant!" Um , yeah, join the club!
Well, this may or may not be the last update while I am preggo. At the end of next week I will be "full term" and Quinn could come any time. We go this week to have our big sonogram and see how big the doctors thing Baby Q will be and if she is head down and ready to go.

Stay tuned. Next week Jeremy is going to do a guest blog on his feelings about becoming a Daddy!

The ever-growing belly.

36-Week Belly
(notice I have taken to wearing Jeremy's t-shirts)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Showered By Our Austin Family

Austin Couples Shower

I think I have been looking forward to this shower since the day I found out I was pregnant. I just knew my friends here would go all out and spoil us, and I love being around my Austin Family. We are very close to a handful of couples that we go to church with, and they made us feel so special last weekend. I love them all dearly and I can't imagine our life in Austin without them. (That's a hint that none of you can move away! Got it!?)

The shower was at Allison and Jordan's new house in Steiner Ranch (which thankfully was not affected by the wildfires). Jordan is sort of a technology and football junkie, so he has a sweet dude set-up on his covered patio complete w/ misters and a television. That's where most of the guys spent their time at the shower...drinking beer and watching football. I was totally fine with this, and glad they had a place to get away from all the girly talk, ruffles and pink punch.

I think the best way to describe the fun at the shower is to show pictures! So…enjoy!

How cute are these decorations!?
Quinn's diaper girlfriends are so creative!
All the couples who hosted the shower...they rock! They will definitely be Quinn's adopted aunts and uncles (and their kids, her cousins) here in Austin.

Mom, Dennis and Emily got to come.

 Jeremy's sweet Mom, Renae.

 Jeremy's Dad, step mom, Belinda, and sister Tylia.

Sweet friends, Crystal and Anne, who came from San Antonio and them!

 My friend Sarah, who lives in London, even came in for the shower! Okay, that's a lie. She was here for work, but it was great timing!! I am ready for her and David to move back to ATX!

My Mom made the precious dresses...she's taking orders if anyone needs one! :)

 Some of the precious outfits Quinn got.

The shower invite asked guests to bring books to start Quinn's library. I am so excited! I hope she loves to read as much as her Mama and Daddy! We will make reading a priority in her life for sure!

 One of our friends who was there w/ her sweet Baby Blue, had a flat tire. I love how all the guys got out there to stand around and "help." But seriously, they were so sweet and got all dirty and sweaty to get Micaelan and Baby Blue on their way! 

Declan, Jeremy's godson, loved playing with the decorations. I love this pic!